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Employment Law Journal: June 2014

Jasmine Shergill summarises employers’ duties to check prospective employees’ right to work in the UK and to do so without discriminating against them

On 14 May, the Immigration Act 2014 came into force, making it easier to remove people who do not have a right to be in the UK. Among other things, it seeks to prevent illegal migrants accessing and abusing public services and taking up employment. One of the main changes affecting employers is that the maximum civil penalty for failing to prevent illegal working has been increased from £10,000 to £20,000.

The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes means that employers need to draw up a policy on their use at work, advises Siobhan Atkin

The charity Action on Smoking and Health estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK are currently using electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes). Although they could mean fewer smoking breaks and less health-related absence, many employers, including the House of Commons, have banned e-cigarettes in the workplace. This article reviews the use of e-cigarettes at work and considers what advice in-house lawyers and employment practitioners should give businesses in light of this growing phenomenon.

David von Hagen and Louise Lawrence offer advice on how to avoid problems with social media

We like to think our working and private lives are separate. A work/life balance is a work/life separation.

Mark Kaye discusses a recent EAT decision on the dismissal of an employee who continued to take sickness absence after her maternity leave ended

It is not uncommon for a woman to be incapacitated following the end of her maternity leave. The question faced by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Lyons v DWP Jobcentre Plus [2014] was whether it was direct sex discrimination and/or pregnancy and maternity discrimination to dismiss a mother in such circumstances.

Lewis Silkin

Colin Leckey analyses the potential impact of the claim for six years’ back pay launched by 400 female supermarket workers alleging gender discrimination

Equal pay claims have been a feature of the public sector for some years, invariably concerning female employees complaining they have been paid less because of their gender than a comparable group of men. Birmingham City Council settled 11,000 claims in October 2013, at great expense to local taxpayers.

Clandestine recordings of private discussions at workplace disciplinary and grievance hearings may be admissible in employment tribunal proceedings, report Sharon Tan and Paul McGrath

In an era of increasingly sophisticated electronic devices and tech-savvy employees, employers are facing unprecedented challenges when conducting internal disciplinary and grievance hearings. It is now easy for employees to record proceedings covertly, should they wish to do so.

Richie Alder and Anna Scott consider the impact of Allen v Morrisons Facilities Services and of the new pre-transfer consultation regime

Can employees bring a direct claim against an employer to which they have transferred (the transferee) for failure to provide information to their previous employer (the transferor)? This was the issue which the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) had to determine in the recent case of Allen v Morrisons Facilities Services Ltd [2014]. The tribunal had held that it was bound by an unreported EAT decision (Mitie Group v Mullineaux [2005]) to hold that the claim must be made against the transferor. However, it said that, free from authority, it would have decided that a claim could be brought against the transferee. This was on the basis that, where the transferor has passed on the limited information given by the transferee, but the transferee fails to pass on full information, ‘the former employees of the transferor have no redress’.

Nick Dent and Ruth Bonino examine the issues raised by the forthcoming changes to the right to request to work flexibly

From 30 June 2014, the right to request to work flexibly is expected to be extended to all employees, irrespective of their parental or caring responsibilities. The existing statutory procedure will be replaced with a statutory duty on employers to: